Compartmentalizing the Minds of Men
I must admit that I’m guilty of doing something and then after I’m finished I file it away as being done, never to be thought of again unless it comes out in a conversation. I imagine I’ve done it almost all my life. During my school years there were good days and there were bad days, and I tend not to remember either, until a noise, smell or a song triggers something in my mind and then it’s off to the races. Like last night I was shopping in Goodwill, minding my own business when a song came on the overhead speaker and I began to dance in my head to “Electric Avenue” as I drug my decrepit old body down the aisle.
I guess it’s true with people too. Most of my school chums are gone now and the ones left are so far away that it’s really hard to keep up. It’s the same with family now that mom and dad have passed on; my brothers while close to each other seem like a million miles away while Aunts, Uncles and Cousins are quite literally scattered all over the country and those on social media provide mere glimpses of what’s going on in their neck of the woods.
My time in the military left little time to make lasting friendships, with the mission, our families and the grind of moving constantly from location to location. By the time you thought you knew someone either they were gone or you were on your way too, not too often would our paths cross again until a new unit, new mission, new responsibilities and before long it’d be time to pack up and move again.
Life after the military proved no different with new jobs, coworkers and differing hobbies or after work activities made it hard to make or keep lasting relationships. The one thing I’ve managed to hold onto has been the memories of my first overseas assignment, mostly because I came back with a wife and kids who keep the conversation centered on the country of her birth – Thailand.
My hobbies include being an amateur military historian while researching, reading and writing documentation that gives context or back-story to that time so long ago and bringing into focus a time that has blurred for so many of my peers.
Oh I still file things away after use and discard those who’ve chosen to remove themselves from future contact. Out of sight, out of mind should be my motto.
The friendships I’ve made over the years have held true to a number of people that although separated by distance and time still allow us to pick up our conversations as if we’ve never been apart. For that I’m thankful. So when you see me online, on the street or in a store and I don’t recognize you or remember your name – chalk it up to this cantankerous old coot just having a bad memory day. It’ll come back to me just as soon as I pull away from the mall.
I like the saying I read recently, “When your phone doesn’t ring – that’s me!” – I am the Real Truckmaster!